Cast: Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy (VOICES)
Release Date: October 29, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9/10
Rage and revenge for his father’s murder motivate Terry McGinnis to steal Bruce Wayne’s high-tech Batsuit. And then a greater purpose and sense of justice keep him wearing it. Across three seasons and 52 episodes of this highly acclaimed Emmy-award winning series, he patrols the streets and skies of Gotham City with Bruce as his guide. Get in on the exciting and explosive partnership between an ex-crime-fighter and his apprentice in the animated series that catapulted the Batman legend to new justice-seeking heights.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
The beloved animated series ‘Batman Beyond’ follows struggling teen Terry McGinnis who after stumbling into the Batcave and its various secrets belonging to now-retired Batman Bruce Wayne, decides to steal one of Bruce’s Batsuits in order to try and get revenge for his murdered father. After some hesitation and Bruce and Terry both realizing how much good he could do if he were to don the suit as the new caped crusader, the unlikely pair teams up, Terry picking up the mantle with Bruce assisting him from behind the scenes. Finally able to do some true good and feeling better about his role in the city, albeit without the credit, now all Terry needs is to find a way to balance the challenges of dating, school and saving the city.
From the team that brought you the unforgettable gem ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, ‘Batman Beyond’ made its debut after the studio was hoping to revamp the Batman cartoon universe in order to pull in younger audiences along with the older folks who unsurprisingly were the most dedicated viewers of the 90’s animated series that still remains a fan favorite interpretation of the character to this day (and for good reason). With audiences uncertain of what exactly to expect with ‘Batman Beyond’ upon its debut (myself included) this new, futuristic take on the infamous DC comics hero ended up proving to be nothing short of fantastic, delivering a uniquely original and smartly crafted new animated series that was very much its own thing, while also serving as a perfect sequel to ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ at the same time. Throughout its run which consisted of 3 seasons and a total of 52 episodes airing from 1999-2001 in addition to one feature length film (‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’ which is also included in this Complete Series set) it quickly become a favorite among Bat-fans and if anything it only seems to get better with age. While I’ve certainly been a fan since its debut, revisiting it after so many years (and in the best picture and audio quality it’s ever seen by a long shot) is almost like experiencing it for the first time, with uncountable tidbits and nods sprinkled throughout that I either missed previously or had long forgotten.
As far as the technical merits of the release go, this wonderful 6-disc, limited edition ‘Batman Beyond: The Complete Series’ Blu-ray giftset from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment collects all 52 episodes from the fan-favorite animated series and brings them home on Blu-ray for the first time ever, sporting great overall high definition video and audio presentations (with 41 episodes fully remastered and the remaining 11 upscaled or “Smart Rezzed” due to lost or damaged sources), accompanied by the original, uncut version of the feature film ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’. The set also offers a healthy collection of bonus content that hardcore fans are sure to appreciate including some brand new extras created specifically for this release, along with some archival extras and physical goodies (see the special features section in the technical specification coverage of the review below for more detailed information), which altogether make for one impressive Limited Edition collectors set that fans of the series should be largely overjoyed with.
Overall, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s ‘Batman Beyond: The Complete Series’ Limited Edition Blu-ray set finally brings home the beloved animated series in its entirety on Blu, featuring magnificent new high definition video and audio presentations on all 52 episodes (with the majority fully remastered from original elements) that should thrill fans of this beloved animated series (and a great follow-up/sequel to ‘Batman: The Animated Series). This limited edition giftset release also features the show’s animated feature film ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’ in its original Uncut Version, along with gorgeous packaging and tons of noteworthy extras, not to mention a few fun physical bonus goodies. All coming together into a stellar and quite impressive 6-disc Blu-ray set that should have fans cheering for the long-awaited Blu-ray debut of ‘Batman Beyond’ which definitely does not disappoint. This fantastic Limited Edition boxset release is definitely highly recommended!
The ‘Batman Beyond: The Complete Series’ Limited Edition Blu-ray release features a full 1080p High Definition presentation on every episode of the series (and the Feature Film), each utilizing the original 1.33:1 Full Frame Aspect Ratio in which the series was originally broadcast. While the majority of the show’s episodes (41 episodes to be exact) were fully remastered from either 35mm film elements or OCND (the original camera negative digital, basically a digital scan of original negative), the remaining 11 episodes (the majority of which are Season Two episodes featured on disc three in addition to one Season Three episode on disc four) were “Smart Rezzed” from Standard Definition Digibeta video due to time-worn or irreplaceable damage. Naturally, the 41 properly remastered episodes look a bit sharper and smoother, while often sporting richer and more vibrant colors, yet the other 11 episodes still deliver better than expected (I’ve included screenshots of each in the review, the majority of the screenshots are taken from the fully remastered episodes, while screenshot numbers 5-6 which can be found below are from the ‘Smart Rezzed’ masters). Even while there may be a noticeable quality drop in those 11 episodes, they still deliver quite capable and smooth presentations that should please fans for the most part, while the fully remastered episodes shine across the board and even offer richer and more fully embodied colors than the previously released SD editions on DVD, etc. Overall, these high definition video presentations are quite impressive and should have no trouble at all pleasing the fans who should be thrilled with these gorgeous HD presentations of the series.
The Blu-ray disc for ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’ is identical to the previous release from years prior, yet for those unfamiliar with that disc; you can rest assured that the presentation is sharp, clean and quite great altogether, for the most part holding up along with the various episodes included in the set.
The Blu-ray release includes a 2.0 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 52 episodes of the series (and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack for the film ‘Return of the Joker). These two channel DTS-HD soundtracks provide crisp, clean and altogether great lossless audio presentations on all 52 episodes, balancing all of the dialogue, action and memorable music flawlessly between the two channels and never allowing any other effects, dialogue or audio elements occurring simultaneously to conflict with one another in any way; serving up what are without a doubt the best audio presentations the show has ever been granted. Overall, these are wonderful 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtracks that impress across the board and should easily thrill the fans.
The 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack featured on the ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’ film presentation (aka Disc 6) is as already mentioned identical to the previous single Blu-ray release of the movie. It provides a smooth, clean and fairly aggressive audio presentation from start to finish with some nice utilization of the surround channels throughout and shouldn’t disappoint newcomers to the disc that don’t already the own the film itself.
The ‘Batman Beyond: The Complete Series’ Limited Edition Blu-ray boxset comes loaded with noteworthy extras that fans should have a lot of fun with; including both some brand new bonus content and some older extras from the DVD releases; spread between the various discs in addition to a fifth disc dedicated solely to supplements. For the sake of simplicity and easy navigation, I’ve broken down the bonus content by disc below.
Disc One (aka Season 1) includes ‘Audio Commentary’ tracks on 2 key episodes, along with a couple of Featurettes: ‘Music of the Knight’ (running 15 minutes in length) and ‘Inside Batman Beyond: Meet Series Creators’ (running approximately 10 minutes).
Disc Two (Season 2, Part 1) includes an ‘Audio Commentary’ on 1 episode.
Disc Three (Season 2, Part 2) includes an ‘Audio Commentary’ track on 1 episode, plus ‘Inside Batman Beyond: The Panel’ (running approximately 12 minutes).
Disc Four (Season 3) includes ‘Inside Batman Beyond Season 3 Panel’ (running approximately 9 minutes) and ‘Inside Batman Beyond Season 3 – Close-up’ Featurettes for 4 of the final season’s episodes (approximately 20 minutes altogether).
Disc Five (Special Features) is entirely dedicated to bonus content and features including some brand new content created specifically for this release and other great extras. Included on the disc is the new round-table discussion ‘Nostalgic Tomorrow: A Batman Gathering’ (running approximately 53 minutes in length), plus ‘Knight Immortal’ (running approximately 35 minutes), ‘Tomorrow Knight: Batman Reborn’ (approximately 10 minutes), ‘Gotham: City of the Future’ (5 minutes), ‘The High Tech Hero’ (6 minutes) and the 2010 feature length Documentary film ‘Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics’ (approximately 90 minutes).
Disc Six (Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker) of course includes the same content as the singular release of the film distributed years ago (the discs are identical) and therefore offers the same extras which include ‘Audio Commentary with the Filmmakers’, in addition to some ‘Animatics’ (running approximately 3 minutes) and other fun videos and Featurettes including ‘Beyond Batman Beyond’ (approximately 12 minutes), plus ‘5 Video Character Bios’ (approximately 5 minutes total) and ‘Confidential Batman Footage For Your Eyes Only’ (5 minutes). The ‘”Crash” Music Video’ (4 minutes) and a ‘”Young Justice” Series Trailer’ (1 minute) are also included.
The ‘Batman Beyond: The Complete Series’ Limited Edition Blu-ray giftset also comes with a few nice physical extras such as an exclusive chrome Batman Beyond Funko POP, along with 4 nice and gorgeous-created lenticular art cards utilizing actual animation cells from the show, all encompassed within sturdy and visually pleasing collectible packaging.